Chapter 28: News media
This chapter will survey recent scholarship on the media politics of climate change, outlining key debates and signaling the most promising new directions. Increasingly the media occupy the space where public and policy agendas are shaped and the parameters of debate are formulated. While there is no clear cut relationship between media coverage and public attitudes and action on climate change, studies demonstrate that they play an important role in framing issues. In an increasingly multi-digital, fragmented and interactive media context the very nature of what constitutes news is being redefined. ‘Old’ and ‘new’ media are increasingly intermeshed. Journalists reporting on climate change (at least in North America and Europe) have had to contend with significant cuts backs, tighter deadlines, growing multi-platform demands and a fiercely competitive environment. Evidence suggests that these organizational and economic pressures tend to result in journalists relying more heavily upon wire agencies and press releases from PR companies, government bodies and industry. The chapter will examine the major conceptual and methodological difficulties in researching this complex, dynamic and evolving field. It will conclude by arguing that we need a new toolbox if we are to adequately analyze the impact of socio-political factors on the reporting of climate science.
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